Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration

Case Brief Guidelines


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  1. Students will brief all assigned cases for the module in which they are assigned. The case briefs are to be the student’s ownwork. The learning process takes place with the student reading, analyzing, and summarizing the facts and issues in a case; copying someone else’s work is not part of the learning process. However, students may consult with each other, discuss cases, and use the product of those discussions to write their briefs.


  1. Your classmates will depend on youto write a thorough, accurate brief of the case(s) assigned. You, in turn, will rely on your classmates to do the same for their cases.


  1. A copy of your brief will be posted in the appropriate module’s Case Brief Discussion board.


  1. Be prepared to explain, justify, or dissent from your assigned case, as the instructor and/or classmates may query you about the case.


  1. Case briefs will be written in the following format (mandatory):


  1. Title and Citation (e.g. Jones v. Smith, 123 F.3d 456 (11thCir. 2004))


  1. Type of Action (e.g. civil suit for money damages for violation of free speech rights under the First Amendment.)


  1. Facts of the Case (Discuss relevant facts; what happened? Why is this matter in court?)


  1. Contentions of the Parties (What are the best arguments favoring each party?)
  • Smith argues that:
  • Jones argues that:


  1. Issue(s) (The issue relevant to the subjects studied in the module in which it is assigned, e.g. Were Jones’ rights under the First Amendment violated when he was fired for speaking at a political rally?)


  1. Decision (How did the court rule on that issue?)


  1. Reasoning (Why did the court rule the way it did? This is the most important part of the case.)


  1. Rule of Law (What onelegal point do we take from this case?)


  1. Length: Should not exceed 2 pages.


  1. Do not post a brief without checking your spelling and grammar.You will lose points for errors.


  1. Important Point: Each time you brief a case, remember whythe case is selected at this point in the course. Some cases address multiple issues.You do not need to discuss all of the issues. Focus on the point of law where the case is assigned in the course.


  1. Case briefs grades are weighted as follows (total 4 points):
    1. Summary of facts:1 point
    2. Format: 1 point
    3. Clarity of writing:1 point
    4. Understanding of the court’s decision:1 point

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